What 60,820kms taught me about economic development

It’s been about two years and 60,820kms since I founded Build Strong Cities Corp.

Over the past two years I’ve worked in North America, Eastern Europe, The Caribbean, and Vietnam.

The experiences have been remarkable and revealing, so I want to share with you the top 3 things I’ve learned in the past two years:

1) It’s impossible to stand still.

Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly in motion.

I experienced the literal meaning of this when I took the train across Canada: over 10,000kms of motion sickness, but still, a valuable lesson!

As economic developers we strive for monumental growth, but I challenge you to recognize and appreciate the incremental growth and constant momentum that builds strong cities.

2) People are your most vital economic resource.

Working with 45 cities from 12 countries I realized that cities are unique in remarkably similar ways: all have access to relevant transportation networks, abundance of natural resources nearby, each city has reputable education institutions, historic districts, lush parks, stunning cathedrals, etc.

What sets them apart is the people who make up their culture and community.  Naturally, cultivating that community becomes your best economic advantage.

3) Culture shock is coming home with a new perspective.

Culture shock doesn’t happen when you travel and work abroad; it’s coming home and seeing it for the first time.

The geographic and cultural diversity I experienced over the past two years has fundamentally changed the way I view my Canadian municipal and national economic development.

If you have the opportunity to travel, do it! Challenge your paradigm and the way you view your community, city, and country.

As economic developers and those involved in the growth of local, regional, and national economies, we have a tremendous responsibility in planning prosperity for future generations.

My work has benefited from my network of colleagues who continually share their experience and insights.

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Your comments are always welcome as I strive to build a community of economic development professionals who can support one another in the awesome work we do.

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